The Rodriguez family has been running Agricafe since 1986. At that time, the family used to rent wet mills in the Caranavi region, buying cherries from 2,000 producers, and in 2001 they built their current wet mill, called Buena Vista, in Caranavi.
A dry mill in la Paz was constructed quickly, and the family started exporting operations. In 2012, a few years after the national drop in production, they decided to buy land and begin farming. They now have eight farms in the Caranavi region (60 ha) and five in the Samaipata region (60 ha). Up to 300 people are working for the company during the peak season. The Rodriguez family hires agronomists from different countries as consultants every year.
Agricafe produces coffee, processes it at the wet mill, then the dry mill, and exports it. They bet on a great vertical integration system to shorten the supply chain and make it more transparent and cost-efficient. In 2019, they won the SCA Sustainability Award in ‘Best Sustainable Business Model.’
After being inspected and weighed, the coffee was carefully sorted by weight using water, and floaters were removed. The coffee was placed on a conveyor belt and disinfected in a similar process used for wine grapes.
Afterward, coffee is de-pulped and put underwater in the tanks. These tanks have a breather valve and are sealed. Coffee stays here for a certain period of time at a controlled temperature. The goal is to decrease and maintain the pH through all the fermentation processes.
Caturra is a dwarf natural hybrid of the bourbon variety. The first mentions and found plants are from the mid-1950s in Brazil. Farmers quickly fell in love with variety because of its small size and ability to plant a larger number of plants in a smaller area and thus increase the profitability of farms.
Caturra has great taste properties, unfortunately, it is very susceptible to disease.